Going back to 2020, we can see the expected March drop as the pandemic was declared and many countries introduced restrictions and lockdowns. By May levels were increasing, obviously helped by warmer weather.
The trend continued upwards into the height of summer, which is exactly when you’d expected them to peak. But the difference compared to January isn’t as high as you’d expect, showing Covid-19 was still impeding people’s travel.
As winter drew in, walking levels decreased again and, come January 2021, they were down nearly 20% on the year before. By April there had been modest improvements, but then came May and the amount of walking direction requests shot up. They’ve been increasing ever since.
Requests have easily surpassed the summer of 2020, and we’re now seeing the kind of levels we’d expect from the warmer months. This isn’t just a sign of sunny, blue skies, but that traveller numbers are increasing too.
We rely far more on map apps when we’re in a new place, especially when we’re on holiday and need to know how to get from sight to sight (or bar to bar). Locals are less likely to need that information, so if we see significant spikes in directions in a certain place it’s a sign of an influx of visitors.
Apple’s data backs this up. If we look at the top three countries where walking levels have increased the most, the influence of travel is undeniable.